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Adoption from Carolina Hope
We began our adoption process in December 2001. We started searching for an adoption agency on the Internet under "international Christian adoption." After reviewing a number of different agencies and much prayer, we decided Carolina Hope was for us.
God definitely led us to the right agency. Everyone was so kind and encouraging. (Laura and Sarah were my "lifelines" throughout this time!) The staff returned phone calls promptly, and someone was always available to answer my endless questions and guide us through the paperwork every step of the way.
We had decided on the Guatemala program for a number of different reasons.
Ø you could have an infant assigned to you from birth Ø the child was usually only 4-6 months old when she came home Ø you could select the sex of your baby (Being a first-time mom, I just felt more at ease with the idea of a little girl.) Ø you could travel and stay only 2-3 days in the country or your child could be escorted home
We chose to have our daughter escorted, as I am a bit apprehensive about flying and because my husband is self-employed and getting off from work was rather difficult for him. Laura escorted our daughter, Maggie, and words cannot express what a huge gift this was to us! Someday we hope to travel with Maggie to see her birth country.
While Laura was in Guatemala, she phone us to let us know all about our little girl and to keep us informed of when she received the visa. These phone calls were priceless to us! I remember how excited we were when Laura called and said, "I have your daughter!" She told us what she was like, what she was doing, as we both hung onto the other end of the line.
Maggie arrived home to us on May 9, 2003, at the Minneapolis Airport. She was almost five (5) months old. (We had received her referral picture December 18th when she was just two (2) days old.) She smiled and came right to us at the airport. The first time I held her, she smiled, while I cried "buckets."
She is a sweet, happy, beautiful little girl, and adopting Maggie was one of the absolutely best things we have ever done.
I highly recommend adoption to anyone consider this route to parenthood. What a blessing our child has been. We praise God for His many gifts.
Jill and Marty
Adoption from Guatemala
Our daughter arrived home from Guatemala the second week in March, 2003. We got her referral when she was one day old! She just turned 5 months the day after she came home. The staff at Carolina Hope was my guardian angel. I cannot say enough about the professionalism and the comfort and the patience they gave me. I had a MILLION questions along the way, and they answered every one of them right away. Sarah McMullen at Carolina Hope traveled almost every month to Guatemala and we got frequent updates with pictures and medical information. It helped a lot to get those, I lived for them. Annalise is very healthy, and she lived with a foster family. My husband, Earl, also got to meet with the foster mom and daughter. They took real good care of Annalise and loved her very much. Earl said they cried when they had to leave her, and he felt bad. They asked that we keep in touch with emails and pictures. We are so glad they wanted to do this. Earl traveled to Guatemala and he said the experience was wonderful and one he would never forget. He got to meet our facilitator Ronald, who was awesome! He stayed on top of things, and kept both us and Carolina Hope well informed every step of the way. We feel so blessed that Carolina Hope was our agency and they will always have a special place in our hearts. Our daughter came from a wonderful country that loves its children. When our daughter grows up we can tell her how much she was loved by her birthmother, her foster mom, and the people who helped to bring her home. She is our angel. We have two biological children; our son is 12 and our daughter is 8 and they love every minute of being with her. Although the process of the paperwork and the unknown of the time until your child comes home can be difficult and stressful, Carolina Hope was always there for support, and I know they were eager to get our daughter home as fast as possible.
God has blessed us not only with Annalise but we have made some new friendships and are grateful to everyone who helped us in our adoption journey.
Adoption God's Object Lesson of Love
Many aspects of international adoption contain remarkable parallels with what the Bible teaches about God's adoption of His children.
By Jamie Howell
On Tuesday evening, November 6, 2001, An Chao Yan was placed in our arms for the first time! The next morning she would become Haley Louise Howell, our new daughter. My wife. Lydia, and I had the privilege of traveling from South Carolina all the way to Hefei, Anhui Province, in China, to adopt our precious little daughter.
Adoption is a wonderful arrangement. The plight of orphans around the world is indeed bleak. No family, no home; she doesn't really belong to anyone; she doesn't really belong anywhere. For such children, there is very little hope. Except for the hope of adoption: Parents who will love and cherish this precious little life, take her into their home and into their lives, and make her their own child, as dearly loved and fully protected and provided for as their own flesh and blood.
Did you know that God has a keen interest in orphans? In Psalm 68:5-6 the psalmist writes, "A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families . . ." In James 1:27, we find that "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." When God sets the lonely in families, we are talking about adoption.
The Bible uses adoption to describe the relationship God establishes with those who come to him through faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians 4:4-5 states, "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." Adoption is a beautiful picture of the relationship God establishes with His children. In fact, the many aspects of international adoption contain remarkable parallels with what the Bible teaches about God's adoption of His children. This picture of adoption makes three vital truths clear about our relationship with God. The first is that we are not God's children by nature or by birth. The second is that adoption requires certain legal demands to be satisfied first before the adoption can take place. The third is that adoption brings with it tremendous benefits and the full legal rights and privileges of being a member of God's family.
We have three children. Our first child was also adopted. He was not my son when he was born. He became our son when he was adopted. Our second child is ours by birth. From the moment he was conceived in Lydia's body, he was our son. He is our natural child. Haley also was not our daughter on the day she was born. For the first year of her life, she was an orphan. Something had to happen to change her status to that of our daughter. That something was adoption. In the very same way, we are born spiritual orphans. Modern man believes in the universal Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man, but this is not what the Bible teaches.
Consider the wonderful benefits to orphans adopted into loving families. What does it mean to become a child of the Living God?
The Scripture speaks of God adopting His children; this means that by nature we were not His children, not His people. Once you were alienated from God . . . (Colossians 1:21). In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God. (Hosea 1:10). It is important to notice that those who were not the people of God will be called more than His people, but His sons. God adopts us as His children.As was true with our adoption of Haley, certain legal demands had to be satisfied for our adoption to take place. When we adopted Haley, mountains of paperwork had to be filled out, background checks and home studies had to be completed, passports and entry visas had to be secured, fees had to be paid. It took months of diligent labor, and considerable financial expense, to secure Haley's adoption. These demands were inflexible, but not insurmountable. We could not bypass any of the legal requirements for adoption.
Here's the rub: Haley could not meet these inflexible legal demands. Only the adopting parents could do so. She was entirely passive in the transaction. So too, there is nothing we can do to meet the legal demands to be adopted into God's family. We are helpless to make ourselves children of God. If it is to happen, He must do it all. The one great obstacle to our adoption into God's family is our sin. Haley didn't choose to become an orphan. It was a condition imposed upon her by others. But you and I are responsible for our sin. It is our offenses against a holy God that blocked the way to a relationship with Him.
Sin before a holy and just God is a serious matter. There are legal consequences that must be borne. Romans 6:23 tells us that The wages of sin is death. The only way we can pay for our sins ourselves is to die. But there was another - a Substitute, willing to die in our place, to take the penalty we deserved upon Himself, to be our Sin-bearer. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). In fact, our Savior is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God the Father. Everyone else who is a child of God becomes so by adoption. But Jesus Christ is unique in His relationship to the Father - He is the second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God from all eternity. And God's love for sinners was so great that He would send His one and only Son to die in our place, to deliver us from sin, to declare us righteous in His sight, and make us His children, through adoption.
Jesus has promised that He would save all who come to Him in faith and repentance, and to make them children of God. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13).
How do we enter into this relationship with God? We do so by faith. God calls us to turn away from our own sins and our own self-centered efforts to make ourselves righteous, and to trust in Jesus Christ. He fulfilled all of God's demands so that we might be saved from sin and become children of God.
Finally, consider the wonderful benefits to orphans who are adopted into loving families. What does it mean to become a child of the Living God?
Consider the parallels with human adoption. Haley comes into our home; in fact, she has her own room. We protect her and provide for her. We love her as if she had been born to us, and we delight in her. We train and discipline her to help her develop character and maturity. She is an heir along with her brothers; she stands to inherit an equal share in the "family fortune." All these benefits are true for the child of God.
He has promised to bring them into His home in heaven (John 14:2), to meet their needs (Matthew 6:8), to love them (1 John 3:1), delight in them (Zephaniah 3:17), to train and discipline his children to grow in character and maturity (Hebrews 12:10) and to place his name and protection over them (2 Thessalonians 3:3) as full heirs with His Son (Romans 8:15-17).
Because of these glorious benefits freely given by a gracious and generous Father, every person should consider whether he or she is indeed His child. If you are not, or even if you are not sure, do not wait to call upon Jesus Christ who is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. Now is the time to confess your sins and seek forgiveness based solely on what His righteous Son has done for you. Trust Jesus to receive you and give you a whole new life with Him. For God's children, the best is yet to come. One day every child of God will enter into the glorious dwelling that Jesus has prepared for us.
We will behold our Father face to face and delight in His love. We will be in heaven. Then we will be home. While my wife and I were in China, Haley became our daughter. We took her to our hotel room and cared for her, and got to know her. But as thrilling as it was to finally have our little girl, we couldn't wait to get her home. If you are a child of God, realize that this world is not your home. We have a home in heaven that is infinitely more wonderful and glorious than anything this world could offer. Being a part of God's family here and now is a great blessing, but child of God, the best is yet to come!
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Phone Number: 1-864-268-0570